REVIEW – When our house was built a little over two years ago, we thought we had all the light fixtures exactly as we wanted. We paid extra to the builder to ensure we had recessed lighting instead of the basic ceiling-mounted fixtures they offered. It turns out we missed a total of four lights. Three are what are called fishbowl lights and were in closets. We also had a larger ‘boob’ type fixture in the hallway from the garage to the kitchen. I wanted to replace these fixtures with recessed lighting, so when I could review the Rollin Light Recessed LED Lighting, I jumped on it. Now the question is, can I install these myself?
What is it?
The Rollin Light Canless LED Light is just as it says. It is a canless LED light. It has a control box, but the fixture takes up much less room than the original recessed can lights.
What’s in the box?
- Six Rollin Light LED recessed lights
- Six controller boxes
- User Manual
- six-inch round template for cutting the hole in the ceiling
- 2700K/3000K/3500K/4000K/5000K light levels
- 2200K nightlight mode
- 5% – 100% dimmable with approved switches
- No flickering or buzzing
- 50000+ hours
Design and features
The Rollin LED light fixture is very thin. It is seven inches wide on the outside with a one-inch bezel. On the backside, the part that inserts into the wall is six inches wide. That extra inch is great to hide any jagged edges you may make when cutting the hole in the ceiling. It also comes in handy when replacing existing light fixtures with the electrical box mounted directly to a stud. On the back side, you can also see two spring-mounted clips. Those will hold the light in the ceiling. Notice that there is a wire with a connector at the end. That will plug into the male end of the controller box wire.
The controller box is an inch and a half deep. Rollin Light has a requirement that there be at least three inches of space available above where you will mount the recessed light. It has a cover that flips up to expose the three wires. There is a black wire for the live line, a white wire for neutral, and a green wire for the ground. They provide knockouts on three sides where you can run the wires from the outside into the box. A nice feature is the built-in connectors at the end of each wire. To connect the wires from your house to the wires in the box, you push them into one of the three empty holes at the end of each connector. They will lock into place.
The instructions in the Rollin manual and on the website make the installation look easy. Like watching those home improvement shows on HGTV, there is always a snag when you try to do it yourself. These instructions assume you are trying to put a light fixture into a brand-new location. In my case, I was replacing existing light fixtures.
In the picture below, you can see one of the three fish bowl lights that I wanted to replace. The builder did a crappy job on this one because I can see holes where they cut the sheetrock too much.
After removing the globe and bulb, I am presented with the base of the light fixture. Two screws held the base to a bracket mounted to the electrical box in the ceiling.
Removing those two screws allowed me to pull the base off the ceiling. I had to disconnect the three wires from the ceiling to the base. You can now see the bracket that is mounted to the electrical box in the ceiling.
I removed the two screws holding the bracket in place; now you can see the electrical box. This box misled me. This particular box is a ‘nicer’ one that was not mounted directly to a ceiling joist by being nailed into it. It was mounted to a bracket that was hung between two joists. I unscrewed the one screw holding the wire in place and the one screw in the middle of the box.
Then, I could pop the box off the bracket and thread the wire through, so it is just hanging through the ceiling. I left the bracket in place since it would not hinder the installation of the new light. Notice how ragged the hole in the ceiling looks. I then placed the round six-inch template over the hole, making sure I would cut and remove the bad spot. I used a pencil to draw the circle by tracing around the template. Then I had the very messy job of sawing the hole bigger. If this were a brand new light install, I could have used a six-inch hole saw on a drill, but because I had an existing three to four-inch hole, I had to cut the hole bigger manually.
I have also replaced two of the other fixtures. Both of those had electrical boxes that were nailed to a ceiling joist. I attempted to get them through the attic but quickly realized that would not work. Our attic has the insulation pads and then at least a foot of blown-in insulation on top of that. Trying to find a beam you can even walk on is nearly impossible. I spent more time cutting out those electrical boxes than installing the light and cutting the hole in the ceiling larger!
I mentioned the controller box has three knockout holes on its sides. The kit has no cable connector to put in the knockout hole. I could not have put this device in place, but this connector was less than a dollar and held the wire tight. It keeps the main wire from sliding outside of the box should the box get bumped or moved accidentally.
In this picture, you can see the connector screwed into the hole and the main wire clamped in place by the two screws.
Connecting the three main wires to the controller box was super easy. No more twisting on the wire connectors! I pushed each wire into one of the three available holes on the back of each wire connector in the box. Black went to black, white to white, and the copper ground went into the green. I then pushed the wires down tight into the box and ensured the lid closed.
Next, I screwed the connector from the box to the connector from the light. Both connections have a notch to ensure you are mating them properly. I took this picture to show you how they connect.
I did not take a picture of it, but on the side of the controller box is a switch where you can set the like to one of the five light levels. You can see the switch in the picture above. It is just below the connection cord on the controller box. After connecting the wires to the controller box and the light to the box, I turned the breaker back on and tested each light level. My husband and I agreed that the middle level at 3500K gave us the light we wanted. I then stuffed the controller box in the ceiling and sawed out the hole six inches in diameter per the template. The light popped into the hole and was held in place by the spring clips.
Here is a picture of the final installation of the Rollin LED recessed light in the closet. I think it looks 100 percent better than the original fishbowl light. You can no longer see any gaps in the sheetrock. It was a super clean install, and the closet’s light is much brighter than before.
A bonus feature of this light is the night light function. If you turn the light on, turn it off, and then turn it back on within two seconds, the light will only light up from the edges. We won’t use this feature in our closets, but we find it nice to use in the hallway between the kitchen and the garage.
What I like
- Five different levels of light
- Night light function
- No more twist-tie wire connections – plug-and-play
- Provides a ton of light
What I’d change
- It would be awesome if they could include cable connections for the knockout holes. They should at least specify the size needed. I made a lucky guess on the size.
Working with the Rollin Light Canless LED Recessed Lights and seeing how easy they were to install made me wish I had made the leap and tried to install them sooner. Knowing what I know now, I would not have paid extra for the builder to install the recessed lights and done all of them myself. I am not a big fan of working with electricity, but this kit makes the job a lot easier. I highly recommend these lights to anyone looking to add more light to their home by adding new lights or replacing old fixtures.